AMP | Accelerated Mobile Pages

AMP, which stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, is a stripped-down version of HTML, allowing it to be quicker for input to result in an output when rendering code.

Why AMP Exists

Devices like smartphones and tablets have transformed the way that people access information on the Internet.

The vast majority of Americans – about 95% of them – own a cell phone of some kind, with the share of Americans that own a smartphone now 77% up from just 35% in 2011.

This has galvanized publishers and website owners to use mobile web to reach their readers, clients, and customers.

Accelerated mobile pages seek to pinpoint any deficiencies when it comes to mobile web and dramatically improve the performance of it.

Accelerated mobile pages want to make mobile users experience rich content like animations, video, and graphics all while working alongside smart ads that load instantaneously.

AMP relies on a new open source framework built entirely from current technologies which allow websites to be lightweight.

Lightweight and compact coding allow browsers to quickly interpret code, spending more time showing and less time loading.

AMP promises higher performance and engagement while giving publishers the flexibility to decide on how to present to their content and what technology to use.

Accelerated Mobile Pages vs. Facebook Instant Articles

One of the competitors against AMP is Facebook Instant Articles.

In May 2017, Facebook noted that its SDK would have an extension so that articles produced via the Facebook Instant Articles platform will be publishable as AMP articles as well as Apple News.

This was an answer to a pain point of publishers having to produce content in different formats for different platforms.

This can also be because Facebook is losing market share against AMP.

According to Google keynotes, there are 2 billion AMP pages from almost 1,000,000 domains as of May 2017.

Only a year ago that number was 125 million pages.

On average, AMP pages load in less than a second and uses less data while supporting partners like Twitter, Pinterest, and Bing.

Even the major marketplaces like AlieExpress experience a reduced load time of more than that 65% when using AMP – this translated to a 10.5% increase in sales.

FIA appear in the newsfeed of Facebook.

News reports from these platforms aren’t discoverable by third parties or web search.

While these platforms offer an opportunity to obtain additional sources of distribution and backlinks, there is a drawback to using them. There is the possibility of publishers losing traffic to their sites.

Accelerated Mobile Pages vs. Progressive Web Apps

There also seems to be a convolution between AMP and Progressive Web apps.

These are two platforms that focus on mobile-first indexing – and that’s where the similarity ends.

AMP are technologies that enable pages to load very quickly, almost instantaneously.

They work by cutting out unnecessary JavaScript and sizing page elements while using asynchronous loading.

Progressive Web Apps, on the other hand, focuses on re-creating an app-like experience with the use of web features.

The browser detects and implements progressive enhancements, ensuring compatibility across platforms. It utilizes responsive web design which takes into consideration the size and form factor of the device.

Even though they both focus on the user experience, they implement that via different features.

AMP AND SEARCH ENGINE RANKINGS

AMP has overhauled the core elements of web structure and its hierarchy. It has redesigned a version of HTML that includes a set of custom commands, it applies a new JavaScript structure specifically for mobile pages that allow an offloading of external resources, and a content delivery network that will cache pages that are AMP optimized. As a result, publishers have a lot more power and capabilities when it comes to representing information on their web properties.

The faster loading times will be better for the user experience. Online users have a notoriously short attention span and want to get pertinent information as soon as they land on a website. Google uses this metric to measure the effectiveness of your web pages, with the web properties that experiencing a high bounce back rate being thrown in the back aisles of the search engine results page.

It’s important to note that AMP isn’t a ranking factor as of yet, but it does directly impact your clicks, impressions, and the user experience – which affect your SEO efforts and ranking.

AMP optimized pages will be faster, much more engaging and innovative, but utilize ads that use HTTPS for security, and while being compatible with a multitude of platforms and market landscapes. While these aren’t factors that are mandated by factors like Google’s algorithm changes, it helps improve the bottom line of your SEO efforts.

Even though AMP is promised to be the next big thing, many publishers are a bit hesitant utilizing this Google product. This is because Google already has monopolized the Internet as a whole – there are more than 100 billion searches per month, with it encompassing 75% of the US market share.

There is a compelling mindset that publishers shouldn’t put “all of their eggs in one basket,” with publishers wanting to utilize different services and platforms when it comes to making the web pages more responsive and efficient. Some may think that Google only wants to reap even more revenue with the popularity of AMP.

Pros and Cons of AMP

Pros

  • Mobile pages will load almost instantaneously. This will ensure that information on your web properties can satisfy the needs of your readers and clients.
  • Implementing AMP optimization is relatively easy when it comes to making your web properties more mobile friendly.
  • AMP optimized web articles will appear in a carousel at the top of organic search results.
  • Mobile friendliness is the hallmark of AMP – and it is also a factor when it comes to mobile-friendliness.
  • AMP allows for incredible distribution. Your articles will show up prominently into the mobile search carousel, allowing for increased traffic to your web properties.
  • The benefits of adopting new technology. AMP is relatively new and is most likely a feature that many of your competitors aren’t utilizing. As a publisher, you want a competitive edge when it comes to your online presence. AMP gives you that opportunity.

Cons:

  • The value of AMP may be a tedious process. The Wall Street Journal has recently noted that AMP pages generate half as much value for publishers. The AMP HTML format prevents pop-up ads and similar ads from showing, sometimes hindering customized formats.
  • It’s a new form of technology so there may be limited functionality. AMP is evolving quickly, with of the platform constantly reiterating and improving like a recent integration with Disqus. There is also some third-party software that many publishers can’t do without. This is a value judgment that is unique to each publisher, but for some, AMP may be a bridge too far.

Getting Started With amp

You will first have to maintain two versions of an article page – the original that users will see as well as one of that is optimized for AMP. This is because AMP does not allow form elements and third-party JavaScript. Implementations on your standard article like on page comments and lead forms may not work. You may have to rewrite your site template to accommodate these restrictions. Things like custom fonts may need to be loaded using an amp-font extension for better control and loading.

When it comes to multimedia, images need to utilize amp-img element and have exact height and width. A custom tag can be used to embed locally hosted videos with an HTML5 powered amp-video. Amp-carousel and image lightboxes are also transformed via amp extensions.

For Google to detect the amp-version of page elements, you would need to modify the original version with the canonical tag. Thankfully, some plug-ins will implement these changes and streamline the process of making an AMP-optimized article.

Possible AMP solutions
Plugins for AMP in WordPress

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